Alternative medicine

CU Pharmacy Alumnus have built a legacy in alternative medicine

Longtime friend and supporter Henry Leopold Strauss, 93, died peacefully on April 8, 2021 at the home where he had lived for 60 years. Strauss, RPh ’51 leaves a lasting legacy with the University and Colorado and the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, his alma mater.

Henry Leopold Strauss, RPh ’51

December 1, 1927 – April 8, 2021

Henry was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1927. In 1933, when Hitler took power, his family left Germany for Spain, then stayed briefly in Luxenberg, then moved to Denmark. They immigrated to New York in 1937 and came to Denver in 1939. Henry graduated from East High School and then UC with a degree in pharmacy in 1951 thanks to the GI Bill after completing his service in the US Army in 1947.

“I really didn’t know much about colleges because I was the first in my family to go to college. So I immediately went to the best college in Colorado, and that was CU,” said Strauss in a 2018 interview.

Strauss worked as a pharmacist for several years before transitioning into a distinguished career in business and government as an investor and developer, and an active politician in Colorado. He loved to travel and continued to travel the globe well into his 80s with his second wife, Joan, whom he married in 1999. He had a special affinity for China and made 26 trips there from 1975 to 1990, fostering Colorado-Hunan relations and seeking business opportunities. It was during these trips that he began buying books on Chinese medicine.

“Although I love and support American medicine, when I have traveled elsewhere abroad, I have looked at what other countries are doing differently with all these remedies, such as acupuncture anesthesia, distinctive pharmaceuticals, etc. – and I realized that we were missing the CU medical library at the time didn’t even have a single book on chiropractic therapy,” Strauss remarked in 2018.

Strauss’ generosity to CU has focused on educating future healthcare leaders and impacting communities, creating a scientific foundation for people studying non-Western medicine and alternative medicine. His interests blended traditional Western medicine with therapies from around the world. What began with a donation of 10 books in 1987 has grown to more than 4,000 volumes and other materials, becoming the Florence G. Strauss-Leonard A. Wisneski Indigenous and Integrated Medicine Collection. The collection is now housed at the Strauss Health Sciences Library, which was renamed in 2018 to honor Strauss and his wife.

As an extension of his interest in alternative medicine education, Strauss helped found the Integrative Health and Medicine (IHM) program at the CU School of Pharmacy in 2019. Offered by the Office of Continuing Education of the school, the IHM certificate educates pharmacists and other healthcare professionals on the use of herbal medicines, non-botanical dietary supplements, and other related modalities in the treatment of human disease.

“Henry’s dedication to the university and our school has truly made a difference in advancing the education of UC pharmacy students. It is a profound reflection of the School’s mission around innovation and keeping pace with changes in the pharmaceutical industry and modern medicine,” said Dean Ralph Altiere.

Strauss received an honorary doctorate in 2018, recognizing his outstanding contributions to the University.